Pet Insurance – A load of Rubbish?
Like most insurances out there until you need them you feel like you are paying for thin air. This is especially true with pet insurance which I thought was a load of rubbish (as do most pet owners: according to consumer group Choice, only 2 per cent of people insure their pets) until faced with the prospect of massive veterinary bills after our family dog decided to pick a fight with a king brown snake.
If your dog is prone to illnesses or if your cat routinely gets into fights with other cats, pet insurance can take the stress out of expensive vet bills. Considering the high costs for complicated specialist treatments, pet insurance can offer value for money and give you peace of mind that you can afford the best treatment for your pet.
Three Tips when buying pet insurance
First, read the policy properly – some insurance contracts may as well be written in Greek, so it pays to work out exactly what is included and excluded in your cover. Some insurers won’t pay out for pre-existing conditions, older pets, or even certain breeds.
Second, choose the highest excess you can confidently afford to pay in the event of a claim (like $500); this will lower your yearly premium.
Finally, only insure for events that can financially devastate you. Insurers are only too happy to sell you a high-priced all-inclusive type of cover that allows you to claim vet visits and a host of other extras – but you’ll pay through the paws for it. A lower-cost option is to get fully covered in the event of accident and illness, and pay for any other vet treatment such as immunisations out of your own pocket.
The most serious trap with pet insurance is the reduced or capped cover for older pets and those pets with chronic diseases. This means that if you really need it your pet may not be fully covered. Given the small percentage of pet owners opting for insurance, pet insurance could be better value and accessible to more people if the few policies on offer were less restrictive.
So long as you buy the right policy, pet insurance like most insurance is a smart investment.
By John Bowman
Ausure Insurance Brokers